Texas Southern’s Aaric Murray scored 38 points in his final collegiate game against Cal Poly. The senior center has been named NetScouts Basketball’s NCAA Tournament Player of the Day for games on Wednesday, March 19th.
Despite suffering an 81-69 loss, Murray dominated for various stretches throughout the contest. His 38 points came on 14-of-23 shooting including a 3-of-5 display from three and a 7-of-7 effort from the free throw line. He had the impressive scoring effort despite facing double and triple teams when he caught the ball on the post. Murray also had two rebounds, two steals, and a block.
“They didn’t let me catch the ball one on one; they didn’t let me go against their big one on one,” Murray told the Associated Press. “And they just played good defense.”
The 6-foot-10 center had a long road to end up at Texas Southern, as he transferred from La Salle to West Virginia after his sophomore season and was later dismissed from the Mountaineer program. He’s excelled for the Tigers in his senior season, averaging 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game before entering the tournament.
On Wednesday, he showed that he could be a potential NBA player because of his athleticism, post moves, and jumper that stretched out to the three-point line. Combined with his size and length, he’s an intriguing prospect at the next level; however, the biggest question from a performance standpoint comes about his motor. He sometimes takes possessions off on the defensive end and can improve as a rebounder. Certainly there were character issues with Murray at La Salle and West Virginia but if he’s past that, he has the ability to perhaps earn a possible NBA roster spot over the summer.
Other Wednesday Notes
-Not only did Cal Poly make a surprise run to qualify for its first ever NCAA tournament, the Mustangs also won their first tournament game behind 19 points from senior forward Chris Eversley and 17 from sophomore David Nwaba. After the game, Eversley said in a postgame interview on TruTV, “The only people who don’t believe we’re Cinderella’s are our team.” Cal Poly will now face its toughest test of the season against undefeated Wichita State on Friday.
-Despite a late shot from Roy Devyn Marble to send the game into overtime, Iowa fell to Tennessee 78-65 in a battle to face Massachusetts. Marble, a 6-foot-6 senior shooting guard, finished with seven points and five assists on 3-of-15 shooting.
–Adam Woodbury scored a career-high 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting against Tennessee to go with eight rebounds. The 7-foot-1 sophomore center showed promise for next season.
–Jordan McRae scored a team-high 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting to lead Tennessee. The lengthy 6-foot-6 guard is an intriguing prospect to watch in the next round. He is a good slasher and a streaky scorer with vision.
-Junior power forward Jarnell Stokes finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for Tennessee. He’s slightly undersized for the NBA, standing at 6-foot-8, but his strength and energy give him an advantage inside.
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